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Roger Byron-Collins' Welbeck Estate and RAF Sculthorpe Norfolk

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    Roger Byron-Collins' Welbeck Estate and RAF Sculthorpe Norfolk

    Roger Byron-Collins Welbeck Estate Group added RAF Sculthorpe to his list of 35 former MOD airfields, tech sites and married quarter housing estates he had acquired since 1978. RAF Sculthorpe remains a MOD military training facility just west of Fakenham in Norfolk. Home to many visiting airmen and support crews of the RAF and United States Air Force (USAF). The MOD retained the airfield but in 1997 Defence Estates sold the entire technical and domestic site was to Byron-Collins' Welbeck Estate Group which included 140 single storey "tobacco houses" erected exclusively by the UK government for the USAF in the 1950s. After refurbishing the housing estate Welbeck renamed it "Wicken Village" and the houses were sold or rented many to former service personnel under a special scheme. The remaining technical site including barrack blocks, post exchange, church, guardroom, gymnasium and community centres which were to become a fledgling industrial park known as Tatterset Park.

    Originally work began on RAF Sculthorpe in the spring of 1942 and was laid out as a standard RAF heavy bomber airfield with concrete runways, dispersal sites, mess facilities and accommodation. In May 1943 the first squadrons started to arrive including one from the Free French Air Force and the Royal New Zealand Air Force (SQ no. 487) and Royal Australian Air Force (SQ no. 464). Mosquito’s followed in September 1943. In January 1944 Royal Air Force No. 214 Squadron RAF moved in with Boeing Flying Fortress. In April 1944 its squadrons moved on leaving it empty for redevelopment as a Very Heavy Bomber Base. Work was completed until the spring of 1946. After a quiet period the base sprung back into use in the early 50’s in response to the Soviet cold war threat and unmarked English Electric Canberras were based at RAF Sculthorpe for secret surveillance sorties over Russia manned by RAF aircrew. NATO decided to expand their tactical nuclear force by introducing the North American B-45 Tornado to the UK, stationing about 100 of these four-engined jet bombers there.

    This I found most informative as I was unaware that Sculthorpe was one of his projects. I had met Mr Byron-Collins back into 1992 just after he had bought the airfield and housing at RAF North Coates near Cleethorpes as we were interested in buying the Officers Mess as a training centre. I found him to be a most affable and informative person. He explained he came from an RAF family background and was keen to offer special arrangements for serving and former RAF people as I spoke to a young couple who had bought an ex RAF house and he had helped towards their deposit. However what I did find interesting when I was talking with him was the fact he formed and owned a charter/scheduled airline called Macedonian Aviation based at Southend airport in th 1970s. Apparently he owned a number of Dakotas and Doves. Do you know of any other MOD sites he has owned.


      Wellbeck Estaes thread on the Airfield Research Group website here ;
      https://www.airfieldresearchgroup.or...s-1972-to-2016 .

      Estate details as at December 2015 ;
      66 RAF & Army MQs RAF Ballykelly/Shackleton Barracks, Northern Ireland (Walworth Estate)
      570 USAF MQs RAF Lakenheath, Suffolk. (Lords Walk Estate) All let to the US Air Force Joint venture with Hodge Group
      266 Hirings Tricomm Portfolio let to MOD located in Bristol & Bath
      172 Married Quarters RAF West Raynham 185 acre airfield site including tech site & 4 hangars.
      127 Married Quarters RAF Faldingworth, Lincs (renamed Virginia Estate)
      133 Married Quarters RAF Middleton St George Durham (renamed Virginia Estate)
      80 Married Quarters RAF Colerne, Chippenham, Wilts (Thickwood Estate)
      30 Married Quarters RNAS Yeovilton, Somerset (Hermes Place)
      20 Married Quarters RNAS Yeovilton, Somerset (Lyster Close)
      110 Married Quarters RN Chatham, Kent (Walderslade MQs)
      20 Married Quarters Army Quarters, Barlow, Yorks
      55 Married Quarters RAF Halton, Bucks
      80 Married Quarters RNAS Eglinton, Londonderry (City Airport) Northern Ireland
      60 Married Quarters RAF Brize Norton, Oxon
      30 Married Quarters RNAS Portland, Dorset (Southwell)
      30 Married Quarters RNAS Portland, Dorset (Easton)
      Airfield & Tech. Site RAF Hemswell, Lincs
      70 Married Quarters RAF Manby, Lincs (Siskin Crescent MQs)
      42 Married Quarters RAF Brawdy, Dyfed (St Davids Estate Haverfordwest)
      Bomber Command HQ RAF Bawtry, S.Yorks
      22 Married Quarters RAF Hemswell, Lincs
      70 Married Quarters RAF North Coates, Lincs. Airfield & 260,000 sq ft Tech.Site.
      42 Married Quarters RAF Shotley Gate (HMS Ganges)
      210 USAF MQs RAF Sculthorpe, Norfolk and 235 Acre Tech. Site
      90 Army MQs Tidworth Garrison Wilts. (Perham Down MQs)
      110 Married Quarters RAF Scampton, Lincs
      101 Married Quarters RAF Harwell, Oxon (UKAEA housing)
      93 Married Quarters RAF Finningley, Doncaster
      300 USAF & RAF MQs RAF Bicester, Oxon
      150 Married Quarters RAF Upwood, Cambs
      50 Married Quarters RAF Linton on Ouse, Yorks
      30 Married Quarters RAF Cranwell, Lincs
      92 Married Quarters RN Rosyth, Edinburgh, Scotland
      321 Officers NCO MQ RAF Kinloss, Forres. Scotland
      144 USAF & RAF MQs RAF Edzell, Brechin, Scotland